Goya's Disasters of War: A Legacy in Print

Goya's Disasters of War: A Legacy in Print

Date and Time

Thursday, February 9, 2012Sunday, May 27, 2012 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.


Robert and Karen Hoehn Family Galleries

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110




Between 1810 and 1820 Spanish artist Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828) created the Disasters of War series, a set of 80 prints created through the etching and aquatint processes. Often arresting and horrific, the subjects for these prints arose from Goya’s direct encounter with the effects of the Peninsular War in Spain. Due to the disturbing nature of these prints and their tacit challenge to authority, the series was not published until 1863, thirty-five years after the artist’s death. Thanks to a generous gift from Robert and Karen Hoehn, this landmark in the history of printmaking serves as a cornerstone of USD’s permanent collection.

Goya’s Disasters series participates in a tradition of the visual representations of the horrors and traumas, as well as the glories and triumphs, associated with war. Following the precedent of seventeenth-century French etcher Jacques Callot, who depicted in unflinching detail the destruction and human cost of war, Goya documented the violence of war and, at times, its more gruesome aftermath.

Artists working today continue to develop the themes that Callot and Goya so dramatically engaged. The current exhibition features invited student responses to Goya that testify in their different ways to the power of Goya’s legacy. Goya’s subtle use of printmaking techniques, his combination of text and image, and his innovative treatment of the subject of war all continue to provoke and challenge the artists and art enthusiasts of today. 


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Andrea Cutlip